Story submitted by Teresa La Chance, Librarian, New Mexico Veterans Memorial
COLONEL GIL MARTINEZ MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Unbeknownst to many in the great city of Albuquerque is a quiet little gem housed in the Visitors Center at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, near the corner of Louisiana and Gibson Boulevards. Since the Memorial was first dedicated in 1995, the military history library’s collection has grown tremendously largely due to donations from veterans and their family members whose desires were to put the material to use. From an initial setup of a few dozen books to an inventory of approximately 6,000 books, periodicals, DVDs, and VHS tapes, the collection is now ready to take a giant leap forward in an endeavor to reach out to our local scholars and students, and perhaps, even seek an academic sponsor for further collaboration.
This library is organized into 41 categories, ranging from subjects such as American History to the Cold War to Leadership to Prisoners of War and to the War on Terror. The largest two categories are World War II with over 1000 books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, magazines, reference material and more, and Biography with approximately 880 books. 306 volumes, outside of Special Collections, pertain to studies on the U.S. Civil War. There are over 250 works relating to the Vietnam War.
One of our highlights is the historic Special Collections located on the main floor and in the basement. We have constructed a unique cabinet to showcase some of the more precious books dating back to the 1860s, including some that concern the American Civil War. An additional source of pride is an aggregation of World War II unit histories, amounting to about 50, many of which were published during the War. A circular mahogany table in the library holds all the Medal of Honor books, with more supporting material shelved in cabinets downstairs. We have been graced with an inventory of almost 300 autographed books.
Another treasure for history hunters and teachers is our Oral History collection, consisting of approximately 600 cassette and CD recordings of interviews conducted with veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The library, per se, is located on the first floor of the Visitors Center; the overflow bulk of our material is shelved in the basement; the photos show both locations.
For further information, contact the New Mexico Veterans Memorial librarian at 505-768-4497/4498.